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Some Very Specific Good Things To Remind Me That Being Happy Is Not Something To Fear

1. Hearing our coffee cups clink together in the morning. While he’s still sleeping and I’m trying to crawl over him while still bringing him coffee. The way the ceramic sounds clinking against each other is better than an orchestra. I don’t consider my life poetic but if I did, this would be the opening stanza.

2. Every time I’ve been able to tell someone, “I can help.” And knowing that I can. Being able to help people I love and care about gives me a swell of insurmountable joy. It’s unrepeatable and not something I can replicate. There’s no point in doing well if you can’t help other people. And I’ll never stop loving it.

3. The sound of them laughing because of something I said. I don’t care if you think I’m a lot of things, but I want you to think I’m funny. I want us to laugh. So when you do? Life-changing.

4. Waking up in the morning to no alarm, Nukka sleeping and snoring next to me, and not having anything to do right away for hours. The sound of my dog snoring should be bottled. I think that could possibly cure my depression.

5. The electricity and magic that is first kisses. The pause. The lingering. The ability to feel the other person even though you haven’t kissed them yet. There’s absolutely nothing like it and I dare you to name another feeling that makes you feel as alive.

6. What it feels like to send the risky text. And even better? When they respond.

7. When Chris asks to catch up and we’re on the same page. I don’t often feel like I’m good at things. Despite the theatre degree I overpaid for, I’m not usually center stage. I’m very much the “co-star” of my own life. But when my boss makes me feel smart and like I get it and we’re in sync? It’s indescribable. It makes me feel like I’m Julie Andrews in that weird ass gazebo and even though I had a wicked childhood I must have done something good. (Yes. I regret that theatre reference immensely.)

8. The way it feels when your hair is getting 50 shades of fucked up on a boat because windblown is only something that works in music videos. Nothing will ever be more freeing that throttling down on a speedboat and blowing around a lake. It’s just the best.

9. And speaking of hair, fresh color jobs. Walking out of the salon after one of my good friends (follow him on Insta) has colored my hair to some other level of artwork makes me feel a next level amount of confidence. Getting your hair done gives you a high that everyone deserves. It’s just the best.

10. The sound of a wine bottle opening. My favorite sounds are corks popping, bottles cracking, and tops twisting off. There’s some stupid anecdote out there that says, “No good story ever started with someone eating a salad.” And while I would say that the harvest bowl at Sweetgreen and my balsamic strawberry chicken arugula salad would BEG to differ, there isn’t a lot of excitement that comes from shaking a salad full of dressing. But hearing that twist? That little pop? The fizz of a drink? That’s something special.

11. Falling asleep on my little green couch. No one else fits on it except for my dog and other miniature people. Anyone else who’s attempted to sleep on it has fallen straight off. But I fit perfectly. And it was my grandma’s and will probably need to be reupholstered soon but I love it so so much. It’s my favorite thing I own.

12. Eating literally anything in New Orleans. Catfish, poboys, beignets, Popeyes that we caption with “me time” and can’t stop laughing about it. Being in that city in and of itself gives me energy unlike anywhere else in the country, but it also has some of the best food I’ve ever encountered. I love it there. I can’t wait to go back.

13. When I hear Kaitlyn speak Spanish. I’m so proud of her. She’s smarter than I will ever be and has a fucking Ph.D. She’s intelligent and driven and hardworking and also empathetic and strong and brave and a lot of things I pretend to be online but really struggle with being IRL. And maybe it’s just a sign of my own dumbness but even just hearing her order us tacos and margaritas in actual Spanish reminds me how proud I am of her, and how she makes me want to be a stronger, smarter, braver, better human being.

14. Having a crush on someone new. I can’t lie. Crushes always kind of send me into an existential tailspin. I’ve been known to call crushes/feelings for people in general “pointless” and “inefficient” because if I’m not upholding being a Virgo stereotype what am I doing with myself? But there is something exhilarating about being curious about someone. About finding someone interesting. And even though that feels a little bit pathetic to admit, it doesn’t make it not true.

15. Massages. Masseuses are magicians. Case closed.

16. Looking around at your apartment after you’ve finished cleaning it. Living in chaos and mess is something that stresses me out to no end. But looking around my apartment when the laundry is put away, my bed is made, the floors have been swept, and there are no dishes lingering in the sink makes me exhale and relax a little bit more easily. I’ll probably never be a “chill” person, but being in a clean apartment makes me feel a little bit more chill. And that’s something.

17. Biting into Taco Bell when you’re just a little bit drunk. Or pizza. Or french fries. Or whatever food you just HAD TO HAVE because of the influence of beer, wine, or gin and tonics. Describing that first bite of drunk food should be next to “euphoria” in the dictionary.

18. When someone leans in for a hug that you actually really needed. I’m not a touchy person. I don’t like PDA, I don’t hold hands, I don’t really like the whole “being touched” thing. I’m not a hugger and honestly don’t really notice when I’m like, “Oh I could use a physical reminder that I am cared for and loved and whatever.” So when someone is intuitive enough to know it FOR me, that’s something. And those moments mean more to me than I will EVER admit out loud.

19. Curling up under blankets when it’s raining and cold outside. There’s a Danish word “hygge” that we don’t have a direct translation for in English but basically means feeling “cozy.” So the feeling you get from drinking good red wine, from being with friends around a fire, from curling up with a good book. All contain elements of “hygge.” I live for hygge. There’s nothing better than being comfortable and cozy and warm and content. Absolutely nothing.

20. Crying after months of avoiding literally just that. I’m not a touchy person and I never cry. I’m the living embodiment of this meme but in regards to my emotions. I read somewhere that you cry on planes more easily because of the altitude and so I like to save all of my crying for air travel. But after I openly cry and get it all out? There’s no denying that I feel better. Maybe I should try it more often. (I won’t. Can’t wait to cry on my flight to New Orleans in 17 days!!!!!!)

21. When someone reminds you how much they love and appreciate you. One of my best friends keeps a private compliment blog that she scrolls through when she needs a pick me up and I honestly should probably do the same. I still have emails that people have sent me where they tell me that I made them feel seen or that they loved something I wrote. The best thing anyone’s ever told me is that I could never be boring. Second is anytime someone says something along the lines of, “I’m glad I know you.” I think we all pretend we don’t care if people care about us. Maybe we should all stop doing that. Maybe I should practice what I preach.

22. The way your hands linger on my back when no one is looking. I’m not a touchy person. I’m only physical when I think no one is looking. I’m never going to be one half of an in your face relationship ever again. But the way your hand feels when it’s resting on my back and no one knows it’s there makes me reconsider my entire stance on touch. I don’t consider my life to be in any way, shape, or form poetry, but if I did every chapter would reference the way your hands feel on me. Every single one. TC mark

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